March 23, 2020
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada Langevin Block Ottawa, Ontario K1A OA2
The Honourable William Morneau, P.C., M.P. Minister of Finance 90 Elgin Street Ottawa, ON K1A OG5
Dear Prime Minister and Minister:
Re: Financial Help for Canadians
As you know, based on our previous letters to you, the Carpenters' District Council of Ontario and all of its members greatly appreciate all of the efforts you and your Government are making to help Canadians during this crisis.
We wish to thank you for the "Mortgage Relief" measures your Government has taken. However, many of the members of our Union, and particularly the younger members, do not have mortgages and, therefore, do not benefit from this particular measure but are nevertheless now facing immediate financial stress due to sudden and unexpected unemployment. For this reason, and particularly on behalf of these younger workers, we are writing to you to ask you to consider easing their burden by putting in place a temporary freeze on credit card interest charges.
Many of our members, and we suspect a great many Canadians, made purchases using their credit cards in the last months and weeks with the full expectation of making the appropriate payments as their bills became due. Unfortunately, given the vast number of sudden lay offs, many of our members cannot now pay their credit card bills as they have planned to do. This situation is being made worse by the fact that despite everyone's best efforts there are, and will continue to be, inevitable lag times before claimants receive El and other benefit payments.
These are extraordinary times and the members of the Carpenters' Union are certainly willing to do their share in making the sacrifices which our country requires. However, interest charges for credit card debt can be extraordinarily high. We do not believe Canadians, and particularly young Canadians, should be punished by such large financial penalties if they are now unexpectedly unable to meet their payment obligations, for a few weeks or months, because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we are hoping that your Government could see its way clear to help our members and all Canadians by "spreading the pain" and taking steps to eliminate or reduce interest payments on unpaid credit card debt for a period of a few months while everyone can get themselves back on their feet financially.
The Carpenters' Union recognizes that this may seem like an extraordinary measure but we believe it is one that is desperately needed and we know that under your leadership Canada has never been afraid to show the way.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and keep up the good work.
Tony lannuzzi Executive Secretary Treasurer Carpenters' District Council of Ontario C.C. All CDCO Local Unions
Mike Yorke President, Director of Public Affairs and Innovation Carpenters' District Council of Ontario